I have been creating a type of Photo mosaic, I call them Photo Impression, for several years now yet I find it is the thing I end up re-explaining most. I’m not trying to keep the method a secret or mystify it but it is considerable more complex than “using photoshop with a background texture”. In fact I like the way collage, mosaic and Photomontage can extend a subject, there is a lot more that digital photography can offer than just photoshop trickery. Quiet a few notable artists like Dali, Chuck Close, Andy Warhol & David Hockney have been investigating parts of this process before me.
There are three main steps I undertake. They map nicely into painting steps and terms. The initial tonal map is like a sketch where I am investigating the tone, balance and composition. I prefer to work monochrome here. Next is the paint stage, where I analyse the colour in the original image looking at colour contrasts, compliments and harmonies. I like to restrict the number of colours, much like the impressionist painters, as it gives a more powerful results with potentially a stronger emotional connection for the viewer. At this stage I select existing photos or make computer generated patterns or even take new photo to build a small library or images that form my palette of tile. Next I get to choose the brushes to make my marks, only these are the patterns and shapes of the small sub-tiles which make up the final image.The shape, size and type of pattern repeated in the images develop the texture that allow me to bring a delicious additional depth into the works.
I do use computer software, mosaic creator, to build the final image and this can take several hours, frequently requiring over night runs. The preliminary stages are sometimes done on the computer sometimes manually and usually take weeks to months of contemplation.